Sunday, March 11, 2012

"Trig, I've a feeling we're not in Wasilla any more"

"How 'Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm
After They've Seen Paree..."

Much has been written about Jay Roach's hugely entertaining HBO movie, "Game Change" (based on the book by journalists John Heilemann and Mark Halperin), with more than one critic noting its skeletal resemblence to "Pygmalion"/"My Fair Lady" as it reenacts the tireless efforts of John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign team to groom and cajole a rural guttersnipe into a plausible Vice Presidential candidate.

Others have likened the process to "Frankenstein."

But the above lyric - written by Joe Young and Sam M. Lewis (with music by Walter Donaldson) back in 1918 - is a more concise description of what happened to Sarah Palin when she was snatched from relative obscurity and redefined for political stardom on the vast national stage.

And once she tasted the forbidden fruit, there was no going back.

Julianne Moore's uncanny portrayal of Palin goes beyond her impersonation of the ambitious public woman who we all came to know from her campaigning on camera. Much more impressive are the private moments in which Moore rather empathetically delineates Palin's transformation from an eager-to-please team player to an exploited puppet to a resentful rebel to an angry, empowered narcissist.

To paraphrase a popular movie line, "Nobody puts Sarah in a corner."

Once she's been showcased, pampered and spoiled by the process, there was no way that Sarah Palin would go away, no matter how ill-equipped she was intellectually or emotionally to handle the challenge.

To invoke another movie, her journey was like "The Wizard of Oz," but without the "There's no place like home" coda. She traveled to Oz, and despite the uncertainty and discomfort of the trip, she liked it there.

All of this is conveyed in Julianne Moore's remarkable performance - a portrayal that's at once funny, affectionate, defiant, enervating and poignant. She so fully inhabits this character and explains her in such a precise way that we see Sarah Palin differently for the first time.


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wwolfe said...

I finally got to see this two nights ago and agree with your assessment - especially your description of "Palin's transformation from an eager-to-please team player to an exploited puppet to a resentful rebel to an angry, empowered narcissist." This would make a good double-bill with "A Face in the Crowd," as I'm sure other people must have mentioned before me. The moment that's stuck in my mind is the one at the faorgrounds in Alaska, where Sarah, surrounded by her kids, answers her cell phone that's bringing the call which will, to put it bluntly, ruin her life. It's impossible not to feel sympathy for her as a person, however much I disagree with her politically. I think that's a commendable accomplishment by the filmmakers.

Alex said...

Instead of complaining, as she always does, Palin should be praising Moore for making her look less nasty and more human.